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Democratic governors underline their support for Biden amid post-debate anxiety

As a growing number of Democrats are calling on President Biden to exit the race, polling still shows a tight race this November.
President Joe Biden
Posted at 9:07 AM, Jul 03, 2024

One day after two Democratic members of Congress called on President Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 presidential race, the president met with about 20 Democratic governors at the White House Wednesday evening.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, all Biden allies, spoke to reporters following the meeting. They said Democratic governors and the Democratic Party were in full support of President Biden.

"I'm here to tell you today, President Joe Biden is in it to win it," said Gov. Hochul. "And all of us said we pledged our support to him because the stakes could not be higher on the eve of the Fourth of July celebration."

"We talk about how we transition under a monarchy and tyranny that our founding fathers fought against," Hochul said. "And we risk right now descending back into that very same place. We will stand with the president as we fight that force, that force being Donald Trump."

"The president reiterated his determination to defeat the existential threat of Donald Trump at the ballot box in November and sought the advice and expertise of Democratic governors," The Biden-Harris campaign said in a statement about the meeting. "In addition to defeating Donald Trump, the meeting also focused on the importance of electing Democrats up and down the ballot to deliver more Democratic governors and more Democratic majorities in Congress and statehouses across the country."

The full list of attendees, as released by the White House, included:

Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota, Chair, Democratic Governors Association
Gov. Laura Kelly, Kansas, Vice Chair, Democratic Governors Association
Gov. Katie Hobbs, Arizona
Gov. Gavin Newsom, California
Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado
Gov. Ned Lamont, Connecticut
Gov. John Carney, Delaware
Mayor Muriel Bowser, District of Columbia
Gov. Josh Green, Hawaii
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois
Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky
Gov. Janet Mills, Maine
Gov. Wes Moore, Maryland
Gov. Maura Healey, Massachusetts
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan
Gov. Roy Cooper, North Carolina
Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico
Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York
Gov. Tina Kotek, Oregon
Gov. Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
Gov. Dan McKee, Rhode Island
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., U.S. Virgin Islands
Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington

Many of the governors attended the meeting virtually, the White House said.

Related story: Texas Rep. Doggett first sitting Democrat to publicly call for Biden to exit presidential race

Although it's unclear how much last week's presidential debate will affect the 2024 election, President Biden's struggles during the debate put a lot of focus on his age and mental acuity. Those questions are on top of concerns about how President Biden has handled inflation and other issues.

In an interview with CNN's Pamela Brown on Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the governors wanted to hear directly from the president on how he feels heading into the heart of election season.

"I don't think that there's anything wrong with asking the president to talk to the American people a little bit more about his health or that debate performance," Beshear told CNN. "In many ways, and in our terms, it's like seeing somebody that you haven't seen in a while, and they seem a little off. And you asking how they're doing and then listening to their answer is both showing concern for them, but also just trying to make sure that things are OK."

On Tuesday, Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first Democrat currently sitting in Congress to publicly encourage President Biden to withdraw from the race. Although President Biden is not officially the nominee yet, as the presumptive nominee with the overwhelming majority of pledged delegates, he would likely have to exit the race on his own volition for Democrats to replace him as the nominee.

Later in the day, Rep. Adam Frisch joined Doggett's call for President Biden to exit the race.

"We deserve better. President Biden should do what's best for the country and withdraw from the race," he said.

To date, the Biden campaign has resisted calls for him to exit the race. Polling still shows a tight race between former President Donald Trump and President Biden.

A poll conducted by Ipsos and Reuters on Monday and Tuesday and released Wednesday shows President Biden and Trump deadlocked among registered voters.

The same poll showed that in a head-to-head race against other Democrats, Trump actually performed better against some hypothetical candidates such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.